New report wants independent Mātauranga Māori science entity

By Te Ao - Māori News

Māori and Pacific experts are not being included in science advice and key decision-making roles, including in the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new report titled Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga.

The report outlines recommendations to appoint Māori chief science advisors in key government agencies, create Tiriti-based guidelines for science and innovation funding, and in the medium term, establish an independent Mātauranga Māori entity.

Professor Tahu Kukutai of the University of Waikato says there are two things that make the report significant.

"One is that it interrogates how science and evidence shapes policymaking. Unsurprisingly, it finds that the current approach marginalises Māori experts, knowledge and priorities, with harmful consequences for Māori and Aotearoa more broadly.

“The second point of the difference relates to the authors. Collectively they cover every part of the research, science and innovation system and bring with them a huge amount of expertise and experience, in Te Ao Māori and in Pākehā-dominated institutions and settings. They have been up close and personal with the science-policy interface for decades and they know it isn’t working for Māori, or indeed for many other communities.

Tracey McIntosh, Professor at the University of Auckland says the report "clearly demonstrates the strength of drawing on disciplinary, cultural and place-based expertise to generate new knowledge, sustainable solutions and shape evidence-based, culturally-informed policy practice. A Tiriti-led science-policy approach for Aotearoa offers a critical opportunity to support the vision of a just and equitable society.”